Do What You Desire

……Great career advice from Alan Watts.

“The only way to become a master of something is to really be with it. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is. Somebody is interested in everything and anything you can be interested in you’ll find others interested in it. It’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like in order to spend to do things you don’t like.”

[Note: The original post embedded a different video with audio from the same lecture, but that video was removed by the user who uploaded it, so we’ve updated.]

Look who greeted me in the garden this morning

This fellow was sunning himself strung along the kale pots. This guy was close to a meter long and very curious about me. golden tree snake on kale pots altert to my presence

If I have correctly identified this snake, as a golden tree snake (Chrysopelea ornata) then he’s probably long gone by now, or in the attic. These reptiles can climb very fast, race along flat surfaces, and even fly. Mostly they’re content to eat small rodents and frogs and probably want nothing to do with small dogs.

I spent the rest of the day indoors or planting seedlings, which did not require leaving the back porch. I felt safer from the snakes there until, as I was cleaning out my “junk pile,” I discovered a 20 cm snake skin, probably from the Laotian Wolf Snake I see slinking  sometimes at dusk.

I’m writing about snakes so much to try to lose my fear of them, but not my respect. Being in a subtropical garden, even in the city, requires mindfulness.

Happy Holidays from our garden!

Christmas 2011 in the urban micro garden

Click on the photo to see others who have submitted photos on advocating marriage equality

We took this shot on our front porch on Christmas Day in Chiang Mai with a bit of our in the background. Beaffin held surprisingly still and we just propped the Thai language sign against his chest as he stared off toward the front gate. Lu Wei’s and my signs both say “love makes a family” and Beaffin’s sign says “I love my family,” which was the Thai grammatical structure I felt most comfortable writing.

The Urban *Macro* Garden: Beirut’s “Wonder Forest” Concept

Beirut Wonder Forest concept art

This story from inhabitat caught our eye. Imagine an urban micro garden blanketing a whole city, especially a polluted and congested city like Beirut. Everybody would have a part to play in this kind of “urban macro garden” and that would require changing hearts and minds. But how hard is it to convince someone to breath cleaner air? The harder challenge is probably getting people to water plants instead of watching TV.


New snake discovered in the leaves

We’re trying to identify this baby snake.

I was helping the neighbor in her garden when she picked up this beauty with her bare hands (by accident) as she was bagging leaves.

trying to ID this snake found in yard in chiang mai, Thailand

We’re thinking it might be a Russell’s Viper (Daboia Russelii or Russelii Siamensis) or something similar (possibly the harmless boa, Gongylophis conicus, but the markings look different). Of course, we’re hoping that it’s a nonpoisonous snake species, not, as Wikipedia puts it, “one of the species responsible for causing the most snakebite incidents and deaths among all venomous snakes on account of many factors,such as their wide distribution and frequent occurrence in highly-populated areas.”

I wish we’d gotten a shot of the head.

UPDATE: It seems we have a Boiga multomaculata (many-spotted cat snake), which is a constrictor and harmless to humans. Hooray! One more non-poisonous snake identified in the neighborhood).

How to have a wonderful day

One of the best parts of tending a garden is the cultivation of beauty. But how often do we cultivate appreciation and gratitude of the beauty and wonder that surrounds us? How often do we open the heart to life’s gifts?

This video uses words and images to send you right into a more happy, appreciative, loving space. It’s a lot to pack into just under 10 minutes.

Triple purple Datura flower–wow!

Look at this beauty! I snapped these photos in the morning with some cloud cover just after a watering.

This purple datura (Datura metel I suspect) usually puts out double blooms, but that morning there was a triple-layered flower.

triple datura closeup

detail of purple datura flower -- double or triple beauty

The back story: Continue reading